Get to Know Jim

Jim’s upbringing and life experiences have shaped his perspectives. Both of his parents dedicated their lives to education, teaching children in the public school system.  To earn money to go to UNC, Jim worked hard as a busboy at the local Senior Center, had a paper route and mowed neighbors’ yards.

As an undergraduate at the University of North Carolina, he learned how to create and grow companies. Jim helped build one of the largest student tour companies in North America after selling his business in 2005. After receiving his undergraduate degree from UNC, he earned an MBA from the University of Tennessee, graduating as Valedictorian with highest honors, and also earned a Masters in Management from George Washington University.

After a brush with Stage 2 melanoma, Jim became committed to leading a healthy lifestyle. Both Jim and his wife Susan have become exercise enthusiasts and Jim has run 20+ marathons as well as multiple 50 & 100-mile Ultramarathons.

Over the past 30 years, Jim has wandered through the remotest villages on the planet across all 193 of the UN recognized countries, interacting with the world’s disadvantaged first hand. Sleeping in grass huts in Nicaragua, building rooms and schools in rural Costa Rica, comforting the unwanted children in India’s orphanages, exploring distant villages in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and working adjacent to and serving the homeless in our own community – have dramatically shaped his perspectives.  These experiences have inspired him to act locally, advocating for those in need in our own communities.

Education is Jim’s passion.  He has been on the faculty at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School since 2010, teaching undergraduate students at UNC how to create new for-profit and non-profit ventures. He has served on the Public School Foundation since 2008, supporting our teachers and schools.

He has led the initiative to create an entrepreneurial hub in downtown Chapel Hill. Collaborating with a leadership team of officials from the Town of Chapel Hill, Orange County, Downtown partnership, and UNC they opened up Launch Chapel Hill. This project strengthened Town-County-University relations while giving entrepreneurs badly needed space to create ventures in Orange County. He opened 1789 (above Four Corners on Franklin Street) in early 2013 to serve early stage companies coming out of Carolina.

In his spare time when he’s not running, Jim can be found watching UNC sporting events with his family.

Community Involvement:

  • Chapel Hill-Carrboro Public School Foundation Board
  • Orange County Economic Development Advisory Board
  • Chapel Hill Citizens Police Advisory Committee
  • Kramden Institute Board Member
  • Make a Wish of Eastern North Carolina Board Member
  • North Carolina Children’s Hospital Board of Visitors

University of North Carolina:

  • Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Kenan-Flagler Business School
  • University of North Carolina Board of Visitors
  • Student Recruitment Committee Co-Chair, Honors Carolina/BOV
  • Morehead-Cain Regional Selection Committee
  • Venture Coach/EIR, Launch Chapel Hill

Recent Awards:

  • Chapel Hill-Carrboro Citizen of the Year, 2012
  • Hometown Hero, 2013

Jim's Mile Marker

UN Recognized Countries


Countries Visited

Yep, all 193

Featured Destination